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Posted on on May 24th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

The top 10 icons of Israeli high-tech.

Long before Israel was known as the startup nation, skilled and visionary men were already putting it on course as the next Silicon Valley.

ISRAEL21 Century  takes a look at Israel’s initial top 10 high-tech pioneers and we like Israel to remember also that Israel Parliament (the Knesset) had the first Commissioner for Future Generations. Having understood that so early in the SUSTAINABILITY games, we wonder why the present Israeli government is not more active at the UN games that will have their finals at Rio de Janeiro this June?

Israeli entrepreneurs were on the front line when it came to spread use of water technologies, solar power, geothermal, biofuels, energy saving, decreased dependence on oil, but now their representatives        at the UN text-writing exercises for Rio just sat quietly on their hands. What a shame!

Uzia Galil

Israel’s enterprising engineers and entrepreneurs have defined an industry for the world, from computer storage technologies and chip manufacturing to instant messaging and modern firewalls. They’re transforming communications, entertainment and mobility, rivaling Silicon Valley in California.

This high-tech legacy was actually begun decades ago by an iconic crew of Israeli men. Before the dot-com boom in the late 1990s, Israel was already a startup nation of highly educated engineers who were emerging from the army with a drive to build their country through industry.

In a two-part series, ISRAEL21c pays tribute to the icons of the country’s high-tech industry. We start here with a top 10 list of pioneers and catalysts of Israel’s high-tech industry.

The Israeli high tech “gene,” we note, also seems to be associated with the longevity gene. The founding fathers, now in their 70s, 80s and 90s, remain productive to this day.

1. Dan Tolkowsky

Born: 1921

Claim to fame: Founded the first venture fund to invest in Israeli high-tech and startups.

Daniel TolkovskyTolkowsky, one of the grandfathers of the Israeli high-tech industry, co-founded the Athena Fund, which sired the companies that innovator Uzia Galil (see below) envisioned. Through Discount Investments, Tolkowsky helped provide the finance and commercial capabilities to the Israeli high-tech greats Elron, Elbit, Elscint, Daisy, Fibronics, Optrotek and Scitex. He continues to work in biotechnology and high-tech and gives strategic advice to Israeli high-tech companies traded publicly in Israel and abroad.


2. Uzia Galil

Born: 1925

Claim to fame: At Motorola, he helped develop the world’s first color television. Started the first successful non-military high-tech company in Israel.

Uzia GalilGalil, an electrical engineer, is known for founding Elron Electronic Industries, the first high-tech multinational holding company based in Israel. With a net worth of about $5 billion, it has grown to include some 30 companies that have invented items from medical devices to military technologies. Some of the more notable companies that have been steered, founded or led by Galil include Netmanage, Zoran, Elbit, Elscint, Chipx, Orbotech, Partner Communications, and Silicom Ventures.


3. Ed Mlavsky

Born: 1929

Claim to fame: Founder of Israel’s first VC, the Gemini Israel Fund, linking Israeli brains to capital markets overseas.

Ed MlavskyA technologist in his own right, Ed Mlavsky has lent muscle to Israeli high-tech through networking and financing platforms he established, setting the stage for Israeli tech exports. Before there was Google, he was making lists of tech products and pitching them to firms abroad. He eventually went on to lead and shape the US-Israel Binational Research and Development (BIRD) Foundationfrom 1979 through 1992. He then founded Gemini, a fund that oversees dozens of startups specializing in a span of Israeli tech from Internet technologies to “green” IT. Mlavsky made significant contributions to the world solar industry as a founder of Tyco, now a New York Stock Exchange-traded solar energy company. He coined the term “edge-defined film-fed growth” (EFG), a method for making sheets of polycrystalline silicon for photovoltaic devices.


4. Jacob Ziv

Born: 1931

Claim to fame: Developed data-compression technologies used in all personal computers.

The groundbreaking work of Jacob Ziv enabled digital communication to be fast and rapid. With Abraham Lempel, he co-founded the LZ family of lossless data compression algorithms to make digital data occupy less space so it can be transmitted faster. Their principle has led to modern data-compression standards such as MP3 for audio, GIF or PNG for imaging and PDF for text. Ziv’s work has also improved the storage capacity of hard drives and the performance of modems, and optimized fax technologies. Seminal in scope, his contributions to computer science have inspired a new generation of researchers.


5. Efraim (Efi) Arazi

Born: 1937

Claim to fame: Created Scitex, often referred to as the flagship of the Israeli high-tech industry.

Effi Arazi founded and led Scitex Corporation (now renamed Scailex Corporation) in 1968. The company, later sold to Hewlett Packard, develops and manufactures hardware and software technologies, and equipment for the printing and publishing industries. This was Israel’s first high-tech firm and at its peak employed 4,000 people. Since then, Arazi has gone on to found additional graphics and printing companies.


6. Dov Frohman

Born: 1939

Claim to fame: Invented a new memory chip for the personal computer industry, leading to the ubiquitous flash memory technology used today.

Dov FrohmanThe electrical engineer got his start at Fairchild Semiconductor, the catalyst for many Silicon Valley companies. He followed many of his colleagues from there to Intel. A former VP at Intel, Frohman invented the erasable and programmable read-only memory called EPROM while troubleshooting an Intel product in the 1970s. At the time there were only RAM and ROM chips, both severely limited. Frohman’s invention was a paradigm shift for the personal computing industry. His new chip could be easily programmed and retain a long charge. EPROM is as important as the microprocessor itself, Intel founder Gordon Moore has said. Now retired, Frohman founded Intel-Israel and was its first general manager.


7. Dan Maydan

Born: Circa 1939

Claim to fame: Made significant advances in semiconductor manufacturing.

Dan Maydan is an electrical engineer whose engineering breakthroughs in semi-conductor manufacturing are lauded by the Smithsonian Institution as having shaped modern society. For a number of years Maydan headed Applied Materials, which manufacturers semiconductors for the computing, LCD, glass and solar industries. In his early career at Bell Laboratories, he pioneered laser recording of data onto thin film, and made significant advances in other aspects in semiconductor manufacturing.


8. Joseph “Yossi” Vardi

Born: 1942

Claim to fame: “The Mirabilis Effect.” Often cited as a godfather of the Israeli high-tech industry and angel investor to dozens of start-ups.

Yossi VardiYossi Vardi is one of Israel’s first high-tech entrepreneurs and unofficial ambassador of the Israeli high-tech scene. You will find him at conferences around the world and at local events and luncheons championing the Israeli startup nation. Vardi has worn an impressive number of hats over the years, including high-ranking positions in the Israeli government in varying capacities, including peace negotiations. He founded or helped build more than 60 high-tech companies in Israel, including Mirabilis, creator of ICQ. This company was sold to AOL for $400 million, showing other young Israelis that huge fortunes could be made in high-tech innovation. Vardi began his career at age 26 by co-founding TEKEM, one of the first software houses in Israel. It was later sold to Tadiran.


9. Yehuda Zisapel

Born: 1942

Claim to fame: The “Bill Gates of Israel” behind the world’s most successful incubator of telecom-related startups.

Yehuda ZisapelYehuda Zisapel is the co-founder of RAD Group, a conglomerate of voice and date communications companies that collectively employs about 3,500 people. Business 2.0 magazine calls him the world’s most successful incubator of telecom-related startups, given that five of the companies he co-founded with his younger brother Zohar are traded on the NASDAQ. RAD’s first commercial success was a miniature modem. The company also founded and backed dozens of spinoffs, the first of which was Lannet Data Communications. This company developed the first Ethernet switch for data communications, eliminating the need for expensive coaxial cables.


10. Kobi Richter

Born: 1945

Claim to fame: Co-founder and head of Orbotech.

Kobi RichterWidely recognized for his work in cardiovascular stent technology with Medinol, Kobi Richter is considered one of Israel’s top entrepreneurs for co-founding and managing Orbotech (El-Op). The company develops advanced high-tech tools for inspecting and imaging circuit boards and display panels (LCD). Today these optical tools are used to automate inspection for quality control in high-tech hardware manufacturing for faster production with lower cost and less waste. One of the company’s many solutions is automated check processing for financial institutions.



Posted on on February 26th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

The Sunday Review

New York Times Op-Ed Columnist Thomas Friedman.

In print – Sunday, February 26, 2012 – based on a communication from oil advocate consultant to Saudi Arabia Phil K. Verleger.

During his long and distinguished career, Dr. Verleger has correctly anticipated most of the major structural changes occurring in the oil industry over the last 25 years. For example, in 1986 he became the first economist to fully comprehend and explain the appearance and development of energy commodity markets. Since then, Dr. Verleger has chronicled the evolution of these markets in The Petroleum Economics Monthly. Over a quarter century, he has examined many developments and anticipated the outcomes of a number of market manipulation strategies, including Metalgesellschaft’s disastrous trading program in 1992. More recently, Dr. Verleger was one of the first to examine and again correctly predict the impact of outside investment in commodities.

Dr. Verleger’s investigations have influenced developments in oil markets. His work includes two important academic studies on petroleum markets: Adjusting to Volatile Oil Prices (1994) and Oil Markets in Turmoil (1982). His research in 1998 contributed to Saudi Arabia’s adoption of a new market strategy in March 1999. In April 1999, Dr. Verleger correctly predicted that the Saudi strategy would take crude oil prices to the mid to high 20s.

In August 2004, Dr. Verleger warned that U.S. environmental regulations would cause crude oil prices to rise to $60 per barrel by limiting the availability of key petroleum products. He later wrote that the squeeze on product supply, combined with the absence of central bank concern, could take crude prices to $100. Both events came to pass.


A Good Question.


An e-mail came in the other day with a subject line that I couldn’t ignore. It was from the oil economist Phil Verleger, and it read: “Should the United States join OPEC?” That I had to open.
Josh Haner/The New York Times – Thomas L. Friedman
Verleger’s basic message was that the knee-jerk debate we’re again having over who is responsible for higher oil prices fundamentally misses huge changes that have taken place in America’s energy output, making us again a major oil and gas producer — and potential exporter — with an interest in reasonably high but stable oil prices.

From one direction, he says, we’re seeing the impact of the ethanol mandate put in place by President George W. Bush, which established fixed quantities of biofuels to be used in gasoline. When this is combined with improved vehicle fuel economy — in July, the auto industry agreed to achieve fleet averages of more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025 — it will inevitably drive down demand for gasoline and create more surplus crude to export. Add to that, says Verleger, “the increase in oil production from offshore fields and unconventional sources in America,” and that exportable U.S. surplus could grow even bigger.

Then, add the recent discoveries of natural gas deposits all over America, which will allow us to substitute gas for coal at power plants and become a natural gas exporter as well. Put it all together, says Verleger, and you can see why America “will want to consider joining with other energy-exporting countries, like those in OPEC, to sustain high oil prices. Such an effort would support domestic oil and gas production and give the U.S. a real competitive advantage over countries forced to pay high prices for imported energy — nations such as China, European Union members, and Japan.”

Indeed, Bloomberg News reported last week that “the U.S. is the closest it has been in almost 20 years to achieving energy self-sufficiency. … Domestic oil output is the highest in eight years. The U.S. is producing so much natural gas that, where the government warned four years ago of a critical need to boost imports, it now may approve an export terminal.” As a result, “the U.S. has reversed a two-decade-long decline in energy independence, increasing the proportion of demand met from domestic sources over the last six years to an estimated 81 percent through the first 10 months of 2011.” This transformation could make the U.S. the world’s top energy producer by 2020, raise more tax revenue, free us from worrying about the Middle East, and, if we’re smart, build a bridge to a much cleaner energy future.

All of this is good news, but it will come true at scale only if these oil and gas resources can be extracted in an environmentally sustainable manner. This can be done right, but we need a deal between environmentalists and the oil and gas industry to lock it in — now.

Says Hal Harvey, an independent energy expert: “The oil and gas companies need to decide: Do they want to fight a bloody and painful war of attrition with local communities or take the lead in setting high environmental standards — particularly for “fracking,” the process used to extract all these new natural gas deposits — “and then live up to them.”

Higher environmental standards may cost more, but only incrementally, if at all, and they’ll make the industry and the environment safer.

In the case of natural gas, we need the highest standards for cleanup of land that is despoiled by gas extraction and to prevent leakage of gas either into aquifers or the atmosphere. Yes, “generating a kilowatt-hour’s worth of electricity with a natural gas turbine emits only about half as much CO2 as from a coal plant,” says Harvey, and that’s great. “But one molecule of leaked gas contributes as much to global warming as 25 molecules of burned gas. That means that if the system for the exploration, extraction, compression, piping and burning of natural gas leaks by even 2.5 percent, it is as bad as coal.”

Hence, Harvey’s five rules for natural gas are:
Don’t allow leaky systems;
use gas to phase out coal;
have sound well drilling and casing standards;
don’t pollute the landscape with brackish or toxic water brought up by fracking;
and drill only where it is sensible.

*******    I’d add a sixth rule for crude oil:  ——-   No one likes higher oil prices. —— But — perversely — the high price benefits America as we rapidly become a bigger oil producer and it ensures that investments will continue to flow into energy efficient cars and trucks. If we were smart, we would establish today a floor price for any barrel of crude oil or gallon of gasoline sold or imported into America — and tax anything below it. *********

A stable, sufficiently high floor price serves the environment, our technology investments and our energy productivity. As our producers succeed, we would become increasingly energy self-sufficient, keep a lot more dollars at home for our Treasury, stimulate innovation on renewables and drive down the global oil price that is the sole source sustaining Iran and other petro-dictators.

But all of this depends on an understanding between the oil industry and the environmentalists. If President Obama could pull that off, it would be a huge contribution to America’s security, economy and environment.


Posted on on February 11th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

World Future Energy Summit (WFES) 2012
Daily Web Coverage – 16 January17 January18 January19 January
Summary Highlights of the Forum
MasdarThe fifth World Future Energy Summit (WFES) 2012 opened in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), on 16 January 2012. The first day of this four-day event was organized around the theme “Policy and Strategy Forum,” and comprised opening statements from Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO Masdar; Wen Jiabao, Premier, China; Kim Hwang-sik, Prime Minister, Republic of Korea; UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; and other dignitaries, followed by special addresses and ministerial panels. The WFES program also included roundtable discussions, an exhibition hall, and numerous other side events and activities.

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, stressed the need to end energy poverty to ensure equal opportunities. He described the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (also known as Rio+20) meetings as the beginning of a multi-year mission to achieve sustainable energy for all, and called for a new energy future that harnesses the power of technology and innovation in the service of people and the planet.

For the complete daily material –  Please go to:     

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), during the session on Future Energy Future Strategies

Close of World Future Energy Summit 2012

Richenda Van Leeuwen, United Nations Foundation (UNF)
Fiona Watson, Summit Director for WFES 2012

Side Events
Side event on Women Advancing Solutions (L-R): Sulaf Al-Zu’bi, CEO, INJAZ UAE; Hanaan Yahya, Exxon Mobil; Lamya Faisal Mohamed, Emirates Foundation
Participant asks a question to the panel for the
side event on Women Advancing Solutions
Assem Kabesh from Masdar City presented its state-of-the-art sustainable city
The Japan Pavilion sponsored a side event for Emirati students to learn about generating electricity from non-conventional sources and to build and drive mini-solar powered cars.
Participant making a mini-solar powered car


Posted on on January 28th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

2012 China Plug-In Electric Vehicle Forum, March 8-9, 2012, Shanghai Pudong, Ramada Plaza.
For more details, Please contact: Fox Shen, Tel: +86 21 5180 7937, Fax: +86 21 5180 7791
Email: Event Website:

THE 29th INTERNATIONAL BATTERY SEMINAR & EXHIBIT in Fort Lauderdale, Florida – March  12-15,  2012 Fax, Mail, Call, E-Mail To: Florida Educational Seminars, Inc., Mr. Thomas DeVita 2300 Glades Road, West Building Suite 260, Boca-Raton, FL 33431 Tel: 561-367-0193, Fax: 561-367-8429Seminar Web Site, E-Mail:


2nd china.jpg
The 2nd China EV Charging Infrastructure & Grid Integration Forum 2012 (22-23, March Shanghai) will gather 200+ decision makers; 30+ speakers, providing you with a precious platform to build up partnerships and promote the adoption of your products and services; achieve success in China beyond 2012!
For more information and registration please contact: Iris Wang, Tel: 0086 21 61702361
E-mail: Event Website:


The 2nd Israeli Power Sources Conference (Batteries, Fuel Cells & EVs) will be held in the Daniel Hotel Herzelia , May 31st , 2012 – Program download


Posted on on January 28th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

Better Place’s Electric Cars Hit the Roads

Israeli company Better Place celebrates fourth anniversary, officially inaugurates its first fleet of electrical cars.
By Elad Benari & Yoni Kempinski

First Publish: 1/23/2012, 5:44 AM

Better Place electric car

Better Place electric car
Israel news photo: Chen Galili

The Israeli company Better Place on Sunday celebrated its fourth anniversary. The company marked this special occasion by officially inaugurating its first fleet of 100 electric cars. A convoy of 70 cars, driven by dozens of the company’s employees, took to the streets of Tel Aviv for their first rides.

The electric car developed by Better Place has no exhaust pipe and no gas cap, but rather a simple electric socket. It runs on a 450-lb. lithium-ion battery and can go as far as 140 miles before the battery needs to be swapped or recharged at the recharging stations. 200 such stations are expected to be available around the country in the future.

Better Place announced that the delivery process of the new cars will take place in stages and will progress as the infrastructure across the country is completed. The company expects that the deliveries to the general public will begin in the second quarter of 2012.

In 2010, Israel’s Ministry of Transportation gave Better Place a permit to import 13 Renault Fluence electric cars for testing. Israel has long been committed to electric cars, and has expressed hope that by the end of this year it will be the world’s first nation to host a national electric car network.

One of the innovations of the electric cars is that its motor is silent, eliminating the loud exhaust noises in regular cars.

“You hear a noise that lets you know the car is on,” Zohar Beit’or of Better Place told Arutz Sheva. “It’s exactly like the noise that an electric camera makes.”

“The car is so silent that you can actually speak quietly and have a nice conversation without the need to shout,” he said. “It really makes you relax.”

Beit’or noted that he was very excited about the official launch of the new cars, adding he has worked for three years on this project.

“When I started, we only had plans on PowerPoint and we shared many ideas on how this day would look,” he said. “And it’s happening now. For me, it’s a piece of history.”

The company’s Oren Kassif explained that while the Renault company makes the cars, the infrastructure is Israeli and developed by Better Place. This includes charging spots, battery swap stations, and the command and control software.

“This is the first time you can say, at a country-wide level, that you can drive an electric car anywhere in the country,” he said. “What we’ve shown today is that we can deliver the cars, we can sell them, we can have customers driving on the road anywhere they wish.”

He added, “It’s a very exciting day. For the past four years we’ve been developing the systems and the infrastructure, recruiting people and bringing in more investors and customers.”

Photos by Chen Galili


Posted on on January 18th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

from M.R.Menon,
Editor & Publisher,
(A bi-monthly energy magazine)

Address: ‘Pallavi’ Kulapully, Shoranur 679122, Kerala
Tel: 0466-2220852/9995081018
Private Email Address :

For your immediate attention:
We invite you to participate in World Future Energy Summit 2012 in Abu Dhabi (Jan.16-19,2012) for
Business Opportunities in Renewable Energy:
For registration, please click at the following link:



Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, is a global leader in energy. The emirate, one of the world’s leading producers of oil and gas, is investing heavily to become a regional and international powerhouse in renewable and sustainable energy knowledge, technology and capacity.

The selection of Abu Dhabi to host the global headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reinforces the UAE’s capital’s position as the emerging hub for renewable energy, and reaffirms its contribution to the global renewable energy industry. In addition to supporting IRENA as it endeavours to deliver on its global mandate, Abu Dhabi – through Masdar – continues to afford considerable resources to the advancement and adoption of renewable energy. As well as providing substantial funding to IRENA and working towards a 7% renewable energy target by 2020, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has offered $50 million in annual loans to finance renewable energy projects in developing countries.


The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) was officially established in Bonn on 26 January 2009 by

To Date 148 states and the European Union signed the Statute of the Agency; amongst them are 48 African, 38 European, 35 Asian, 17 American and 10 Australia/Oceania States.

IRENA Headquarters
C 67 Office Building
Khalidiyah (32nd) Street
Opposite Al Khalidiyah Ladies & Children’s Park
PO Box 236
Abu Dhabi (UAE)
View Location Map

IRENA Innovation Technology Centre
Robert-Schuman-Platz 3,
53175 Bonn,



Signatories 149 (the blue and red),   Members 87 (in red)

The successful conclusion of the Second Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA),

Abu Dhabi, 14-15 January 2012,

signals a new era for the Agency and recognition of the strategic importance of its mandate – to increase the worldwide adoption and deployment of renewable energy.
Above is followed January 16-19, 2012 by THE WORLD FUTURE ENERGY SUMMIT.

Under the Patronage of H.H. General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

World Future Energy Summit is the world’s foremost annual meeting committed to advancing future energy, energy efficiency and clean technologies by engaging political, business, finance, academic and industry leaders to drive innovation, business and investment opportunities in response to the growing need for sustainable energy.

WFES includes a world class Summit, an international exhibition, the Project VillageRoundtable DiscussionsInnovate @ WFESthe Young Future Energy Leaders program, corporate meetings and social events.

World Future Energy Summit represents an unrivalled business platform bringing together project owners and solution providers with investors and buyers from both the public and private sectors.

The following is part of the outcome of these last meetings:
IISD Reporting Services’ Knowledge Management Products
Climate Change
Policy & Policy
Policy & Policy
Policy & Policy
Small Island
Developing States
Policy & Policy
Regional Coverage
Announcement from Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is pleased to announce the launch of Sustainable Energy Policy & Practice:

A Knowledgebase Tracking International Sustainable Energy Policy and Activities

Sustainable Energy Policy & Practice is a knowledge management project tracking intergovernmental and other international activities on sustainable energy development. It is managed by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)  Reporting Services.

The launch of Sustainable Energy Policy & Practice comes as the 2012 International Year of Sustainable Energy for All is being launched, and UN, governments, academics, NGOs, businesses, and the media look to sustainable energy efforts as a key part of the solution to address multiple global challenges.

All news articles on Sustainable Energy Policy & Practice are researched and produced by our team of thematic experts, resulting in all original content.

Features of the website include:

  • A knowledgebase of summaries of activities (publications, meetings, statements or projects) by a range of actors, with the option to search by several categories (region, actor, action and issue);
  • An archive of all posts on the site, organized by date posted;
  • A clickable world map, enabling you to view the latest sustainable energy policy news by region (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America & the Caribbean, Near East, Northern America, and South West Pacific);
  • A link to subscribe to ENERGY-L, a moderated community announcement list for policy-makers and practitioners involved with sustainable energy policy;
  • A link to the most recent “Sustainable Energy Update,” a periodic feed of recent posts to the Sustainable Energy Policy & Practice knowledgebase;
  • A Calendar of upcoming international events related to sustainable energy policy;
  • A link to our Sustainable Energy iCalendar, which automatically updates your own calendar program with upcoming sustainable energy-related events; and
  • A link to our RSS feed.

We invite you to visit Sustainable Energy Policy & Practice, at

Sustainable Energy Policy & Practice is published by IISD in cooperation with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and with funding from the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

For further information on this initiative or to provide us with information about your sustainable energy-related activity, please contact Aaron Leopold, Content Editor, at

The Sustainable Energy Policy & Practice Team
IISD Reporting Services



Zayed Future Energy Prize Announces Winners

Carbon Disclosure Project, Dr. Ashok Gadgil and Schneider Electric recognized for ground-breaking energy and climate efforts

Abu Dhabi, UAE: 17 January, 2012 – Zayed Future Energy Prize – awarded annually to large corporations, individuals, small businesses and non-governmental organizations that have made significant contributions to the future of energy, climate change and sustainability – today announced its 2012 awards winners from the World Future Energy Summit, distributing US$3.5 million to winners and runners-up across three categories.

Carbon Disclosure Project, the UK-based organization that measures, discloses, manages and shares environmental information, won the Small-to-Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) category. It was awarded US$1.5 million for its pioneering use of market-based tools to solve environmental issues, from cap and trade approach to acid rain pollution.

Orb Energy, an India-based provider of solar-based energy efficiency and heating solutions, was named first runner-up in the SME &NGO category with a cash prize of US$1 million. Environmental Defense Fund, the US-based non-profit organization that engages in environmental advocacy globally, received US$500,000 as the second runner-up, for its actions to create awareness and expand the adoption of renewable energy and sustainability practices.

US physicist Dr. Ashok Gadgil was recognized with the Lifetime Achievementaward for his sustainable humanitarian work in Darfur and pioneering efforts to invent the energy efficient “Berkeley – Darfur” cooking stove, which reduces the need for firewood by 55 percent. Dr. Gadgil, who received US$500,000, currently leads the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California and is also well-known for developing “UV Waterworks,” a technology to inexpensively disinfect drinking water in developing countries.

Schneider Electric, a France-based global specialist in energy management, received the Large Corporations award, garnering acknowledgment for its efforts across the world to enhance energy access, efficiency and safety. The company works across numerous sectors including renewable energy, water, electricity and green buildings to ensure resource efficiency and sustainability.

“We congratulate the winners of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, and encourage them all to continue in their efforts towards the creation of innovative solutions – impacting communities around the world. These are the ambassadors of innovation, the ambassadors of our Prize – these are the people who spread hope and aspiration and encourage the next generation of innovators,” said His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi at the ceremony.

The awards ceremony culminated a stringent year-long, four-stage nomination and judging process to identify the world’s best energy, climate and sustainability solution innovators – the Prize received a record 1,103 submissions in 2011. The finalists included three candidates for the Large Corporations category, three candidates for the Lifetime Achievement Award and seven candidates who could win first, second and third prize for the SME & NGO category.

“These are people that had the foresight to recognize that investing in the future is based on long term vision and the ability to innovate the technologies that the world so urgently needs,” added Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Director General of the Zayed Future Energy Prize.

The jury was chaired by Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland and also included Andre Agassi, tennis Grand Slam champion and education advocate; Timothy Wirth, President of the United Nations Foundation and the Better World Fund; actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio; Cherie Blair, Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation; Dr. Susan Hockfield, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); and Ahmed Al Sayegh, Chairman of Masdar.

The 2013 edition of the awards will feature the newly instituted Global High School Prize to inspire a new generation of leaders and innovators.

For more information on the prize, please visit


About the Zayed Future Energy Prize

The Zayed Future Energy Prize was created in honour of the legacy of the late Founding Father and President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The prize aims to inspire the next generation of global energy innovators to create solutions for the future. The Prize is awarded annually to individuals, companies or organisations that have made significant contributions in the global response to the future of energy, climate change and sustainable global energy resources.

More information can be found on ZFEP through the Facebook or Twitter:

For further information please contact:

Sam Elie Bassile

APCO Worldwide

(JiWiN Public Relations)

Phone:  +971 50 3965474


Posted on on January 8th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

NYU Abu Dhabi Institute - Upcoming Events
Please note that      venues vary by event.

All events are free and open to the public.

Seating is Limited
Registration Required

For information on other upcoming events go here.

For information on NYUAD Admissions, go here.

The Future of International Climate Action

Monday, January 9
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Intercontinental Hotel Auditorium, Abu DhabiRichard Stewart, John Edward Sexton Professor of Law; Director, Center for Environmental and Land Use Law, NYU School of Law


Uncanny Valley: On the Digital Animation of the Face

Sunday, January 15
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Intercontinental Hotel Auditorium, Abu DhabiLawrence Weschler, Author, Uncanny Valley; Director, New York Institute for the Humanities, NYUNY


Poised Between the Past and the Future: The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Thursday, January 12
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
NYUAD Downtown CampusRobert Hillenbrand, Honorary Professorial Fellow, University of Edinburgh


A Yarn about Coral Reefs, Global Warming, Hyperbolic Geometry, and Community Art Practice

Tuesday, January 17
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Intercontinental Hotel Auditorium, Abu DhabiMargaret Wertheim, Founder and Co-Director, The Institute for Figuring


Also –


• Twenty five renewable energy projects sign up for purpose-built platform bringing together owners, developers and solutions providers; another 10 are in the pipeline.

Those projects are on top of the large-scale investments in renewable energy under development by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted renewable energy company and host of WFES, and other companies exhibiting at the summit in January.

The PLATINUM SPONSORS include ExxonMobil and OXY – we wonder about their committment to Renewables – but then anything is possible in Abu Dhabi.


Posted on on December 20th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

NYU Abu Dhabi Institute - Upcoming Events

Mahfouz Film Series: Miramar

Tuesday, December 20
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
NYUAD Downtown Campus
In collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Film Festival

This year marks the centennial of the birth of Naguib Mahfouz, the most prodigious and influential writer of the modern Middle East. This fall, we celebrate his life by showing a selection of films based on his work. Our final film of the series, Miramar, based on his novel by the same name, portrays the changing lives of Egyptians after Nasser’s revolution through the lens of the residents of the pension Miramar in Alexandria.


Posted on on December 14th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

History of IRENA

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) was officially established in Bonn on January 26 2009.
The conference was chaired by Germany’s Federal Environment Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, and Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul. Since Denmark and Spain had actively supported Germany in IRENA’s development from the beginning, the respective Ministers, Connie Hedegaard (Danish Minister for Climate and Energy) and Miguel Sebastián Gascón (Spanish Minister for Trade, Industry and Tourism) were elected Vice-Chairs.

The aim of the new Agency is to promote a rapid transition towards the widespread and sustainable use of renewable energy worldwide. IRENA is the first international organisation to focus exclusively on renewable energies, addressing both industrialised and developing world’s needs. IRENA will offer advice to its members on creating appropriate framework conditions, undertake capacity building as well as foster the dissemination of and learning from best practice examples for technology transfer and financing of renewable energies. IRENA will closely cooperate with other international organisations and institutions active in the field of renewable energy.

The Agency began its work only a day after the Founding Conference – 27 January 2009. During the first session of the Preparatory Commission, the Agency’s interim body, the Signatories adopted criteria and procedures for selecting IRENA’s Interim Director-General and its interim headquarters and invited all members to submit offers and nominations by 30 April 2009. They also created the institutional framework that will allow IRENA to embark on first elements of its work programme. The Preparatory Commission welcomed Egypt’s invitation to host the next session, scheduled for 29 to 30 June 2009.

Signatories (blue)  – 149 —–     Members (red) – 85

Further information:
The proposal for an international agency dedicated towards renewable energy was made in 1981 at the United Nations Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy in Nairobi. The idea was further discussed and developed by major organisations in the field of renewable energy, in particular Eurosolar.

Since then, the global interest in renewable energy has been increasing: Several international meetings such as the World Summit for Sustainable Development 2002 in Johannesburg (WSSD) or the G-8 Gleneagles Dialogue addressed renewable energy, and the 2004 Bonn International Renewable Energy Conference in Bonn, as well as the 2005 Beijing International Renewable Energy Conference were a response of Governments towards the increasing demand for further international cooperation on renewable energy policies, financing, and technologies.

It is important to recall that the International Conference for Renewable Energies in Bonn 2004, supported by the International Parliamentary Forum on Renewable Energies called for the establishment of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in its concluding resolution. Only a few years later, and through combined efforts of Governments across the world, the idea had come to life.

IRENA’s first Preparatory Conference (Berlin, 10-11 April 2008)
With a rapidly growing energy demand on the one hand, and climate change associated with current patterns of energy use on the other, the meeting of the ‘IRENA Initiative’ took place at a critical juncture. 170 representatives from 60 states expressed their overall support for the founding of an International Renewable Energy Agency as early as possible – the political momentum was with the ‘IRENA Initiative’ now. Whilst the basic instruments of such an Agency were to be agreed upon at a later stage, the objective was clear: IRENA should be become the very first intergovernmental organisation on a global scale dedicated towards the promotion of renewable energy.

Preparatory Workshops (Berlin, 30 June – 1 July 2008)
Two parallel Workshops were convened in Berlin from 30 June to 1 July 2008, in order to prepare the groundwork. The workshops, attended by over 100 representatives of more than 44 states, discussed the founding treaty of IRENA (the ‘Statute’), the financing mechanisms, and the outline of an initial work programme. The workshops were yet another important step in the establishment of IRENA.

IRENA’s final Preparatory Conference (Madrid, 23-24 October 2008)
The final Preparatory Conference was held only half a year after the first Preparatory Conference, again underlining the strong commitment of Governments towards renewable energies. More than 150 representatives from 51 states gathered to discuss the key issues that would ultimately enable the quick-start formation of IRENA in January 2009: The draft Statue was agreed upon, important matters such as financing, and the criteria and procedures for selecting the Interim Director-General and the Interim Headquarters, as well as the design of the initial phase of IRENA, were resolved. The Final Preparatory Conference represented a milestone in the founding process of IRENA, and in the run-up to the Founding Conference further states became attracted to the idea of IRENA and joined the initiative.

IRENA Founding Conference (Bonn, 26 January 2009)
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) was officially founded in Bonn on 26 January 2009. The founding of IRENA was a significant milestone for world renewable energy deployment and a clear sign that the global energy paradigm was changing as a result of the growing commitments from governments. At the Founding Conference 75 States from all over the world signed IRENA’s Statute.

Considering the magnitude and urgency of the tasks ahead for IRENA, it was important that IRENA commenced its activities as quickly as possible. To bridge the gap between the ratification of IRENA’s Statute by a quorum of 25 States which still was to come, and the urgent need for establishing IRENA and initiate first activities, a Preparatory Commission was instigated on the day following the Founding Conference.

IRENA Preparatory Commission Sessions (2009-2011)
The Preparatory Commission for IRENA, consisting of IRENA’s Signatory States and acting as the interim institutional body, had a key role in preparing the relevant institutional structures for this new intergovernmental organisation, ranging from the location of the headquarters and the appointment of the first Director-General, and administrative policies and procedures, to the implementation of first renewable energy projects.

Between 2009 and 2011, five sessions of the Preparatory Commission for IRENA were held. At the second session in June 2009, Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) was selected to host the Interim Headquarters of IRENA, and Helene Pelosse, a French citizen, was appointed the first Interim Director-General of IRENA.

  • First session (January 26, 2009)
  • Second session (Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, June 6 2009)
  • Third session (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, January 17, 2010)
  • Fourth session (Abu Dhabi, October 24-25, 2010).
  • Fifth session (Abu Dhabi, 3 April 2011)

Following the entry into force of the Statute on 8 July 2010 the preparations for the first Assembly of IRENA were started. On 4 April 2011, only three years after the very first conference regarding IRENA was held, the Preparatory Commission of IRENA ceased to exist, and the International Renewable Energy Agency was finally born.

Inaugural Session of IRENA`s Assembly (Abu Dhabi 4-5 April 2011)
The Inaugural Assembly of IRENA was the most important event in the Agency’s short and eventful history since its founding conference in 2009. Interest in and political commitment to IRENA among Members remains high, and ambitious aspirations for its future among all stakeholders ensured a high level of engagement and participation. At the time of the Assembly, IRENA had 149 signatories, of which 50 had ratified the statute.

The organs of IRENA include the Assembly, composed of all members of the Agency, the Council with 21 members, and the Secretariat. The Assembly also appointed Adnan Z. Amin, a citizen of Kenya, as Director-General, and designated Abu Dhabi as permanent seat. IRENA’s first work programme has an initial budget of some 25 million US Dollars, which enables the Agency to deliver its crucial mission.

As per above – IRENA is headquartered in Abu Dhabi and all meetings held during the last two years were held there. It seems to us that IRENA is in good position to look at solar technology and to promote, together with the European Union, the concept of power production in arid lands. If this does happen indeed, the organization may lead to a new important export of energy – the export of solar energy.


Adnan Z. Amin
Director-General, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

Adnan Z. Amin was appointed as the first Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in April 2011. In this capacity, he is charged with the responsibility of leading and managing the Agency in the implementation of its mandate to promote the adoption and use of renewable energy worldwide. Immediately prior to his appointment as the Director-General, Mr Amin led IRENA in its final preparatory phase before it became a fully-fledged international organisation on 4 April 2011.

Mr Amin has over 20 years of experience in the fields of international environment and sustainable development policy, as well as in the political, management, and interagency coordination functions of the United Nations (UN) work. Mr Amin held various senior positions in the United Nations, including Head of the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) Secretariat. Mr Amin also served as the Executive Director of the Secretariat of the Secretary-General’s High Level Panel, co-chaired by the Prime Ministers of Mozambique, Norway and Pakistan, on UN System-wide Coherence, which proposed far reaching reforms of the United Nations work in the field of development, humanitarian assistance and the environment.

Since late  1997, Mr. Amin was charged with  responsibility  for  policy  coordination  and development,  liaison  between  the  United  Nations  in  New  York  and  UNEP=s  headquarters  in Nairobi, and to work for and on behalf of UNEP with the private sector and other civil society groups at UN Headquarters and within the North American region.  He has played  a key role in redefining UNEP’s coordination structure  following  the  1992  Earth  Summit  and  in setting  its priorities in light of the outcomes of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. He became Director of UNEP’s New York Office.
In his new position at IRENA he will be working close with the Vienna based UNIDO.

Mr. Amin was


Posted on on November 9th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

Bahrain Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Bahrain Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Clinton urges Saudi, Bahrain to embrace Arab Spring.

By Bloomberg, Tuesday, 8 November 2011.…

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying that the US has a role in democracy movements that continue to roil the Middle East, urged Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to embrace reform and Syria to accept protesters’ demands.

“These revolutions are not ours – they are not by us, for us, or against us, but we do have a role,” Clinton said in remarks to the National Democratic Institute, a democracy support organization based in Washington. “Fundamentally, there is a right side of history. We want to be on it. And without exception, we want our partners in the region to reform so that they are on it as well.”

Clinton addressed skepticism in both the Arab world and at home about US motives and commitments since the Arab Spring began with a Tunisian fruit vendor’s protest self-immolation in December 2010.

Developments in the months since then have raised the possibility of Islamic groups gaining political power in Egypt, highlighted differences in the way the US has approached protest movements in places like Bahrain and Syria and drawn questions about US opposition to unilateral Palestinian attempts to gain recognition.

While there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to democracy in the Arab world, such a movement is firmly in US interests and is a strategic necessity, Clinton declared.

“The greatest single source of instability in today’s Middle East is not the demand for change,” she said, “It is the refusal to change.”

Clinton said that held true for allies as well as others. She warned that, if the most powerful political force in Egypt remains a roomful of unelected officials, there will be future unrest.

She decried Iranian hypocrisy, saying that contrary to its claims to support democracy abroad, the gulf between rulers and the ruled is greater in Iran than anywhere else in the region. Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and others “trying to hold back the future at the point of a gun should know their days are numbered,” Clinton said.

To the king of Bahrain, where the US Fifth Fleet is based as a bulwark against Iranian aggression in the Gulf, Clinton said that reform was in the kingdom’s interest.

Officials there have used mass arrests to counter protests by majority Shiites demanding greater rights in the Sunni-led nation. Members of Congress have demanded an inquiry into human rights abuses before a planned arms sale to the kingdom goes through.

The US will hold Bahrain to its commitments to allow peaceful protest and release political prisoners, Clinton said.

While reforms and equality are “in Bahrain’s interests, in the region’s interest and in ours,” Clinton said, “endless unrest benefits Iran.”

Palestinians also “deserve dignity, liberty and the right to decide their own future,” Clinton said. The only way to achieve that is through negotiations with Israel, Clinton said.

The Middle East’s protest movements may bring to power groups and parties that the US disagrees with, Clinton acknowledged. She said she is asked about this most often in the context of Islamic political parties. “The suggestion that faithful Muslims cannot thrive in a democracy is insulting, dangerous and wrong,” she said.

While “reasonable people can disagree on a lot,” Clinton said the crucial factor will be adherence to basic democratic principles. Parties must reject violence, abide by the rule of law and respect freedom of speech, association and assembly, as well as the rights of women and minorities, she said. “In other words, what parties call themselves is less important than what they do,” Clinton said.

The US has the resources, capabilities and expertise to support those trying to make the transition to democracy, Clinton said. Groups like National Democratic Institute can help with the nuts and bolts of democracy, teaching people how to form a political party, how to ensure women participate in government and how to foster civil society.

Mindful of the economic roots of the unrest, the Obama administration is also promoting trade, investment and regional integration, Clinton said.

“With so much that can go wrong and so much that can go right, support for emerging Arab democracies is an investment we can’t afford not to make,” she said.


Posted on on October 16th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future.
Sunday, October 23
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Intercontinental Hotel Auditorium, Abu Dhabi
In Collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center
Dalia Mogahed, Abu Dhabi Gallup Center
Angela Migally, NYU Abu Dhabi
Jamillah Karim, Spelman College
Rami Nashashibi, Inner-City Muslim Action Network
Moderated by
Amir Al Islam, Zayed University


Posted on on July 14th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

Abu Dhabi’s Masdar set to invest $290m by 2014.…

July 13, 2011

Abu Dhabi green energy firm Masdar expects to invest $290m in clean tech projects around the world by 2014, a senior company official said on Wednesday.

Masdar invested the first $60m of the DB Masdar Clean Tech Fund – set up with Deutsche Bank – in China and expects to pick its next projects in the next few days.

“We are making a second investment this week. It could be between $15 to $40m,” Alex O’Cinneide, general manager of Masdar Capital, told reporters.

“Four years from now, we could see the fund fully invested. The market is improving, we are seeing real interest with a lot of deals in the pipeline,” he said.

He declined to give details of specific investments but said Masdar aimed to invest 30 percent in North America, 30 percent in Europe and the rest in Asia.

Masdar is the renewable energy initiative of Abu Dhabi, the world’s third largest oil exporter with plans to make seven percent of its electricity from renewables by 2020.

Masdar’s first $250m clean tech fund launched in 2006 in partnership with Credit Suisse.


Posted on on July 10th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

Masdar sees London Array phase 1 finished in 2012
By Andy Sambidge
Saturday, 9 July 2011
London Array – Masdar Power, a unit of the UAE’s clean energy firm Masdar said on Saturday that the first phase of the world’s largest offshore wind farm was due for completion by the end of 2012. The company, which is a partner in the London Array project, along with DONG Energy and E.ON, said work on the 630MW first phase in the Thames Estuary was progressing well.
Twenty-two of the planned 177 monopile foundations (175 wind turbines and two offshore substations) have been installed to date, the company said in a statement. The project will result in CO2 savings of 925,000 tonnes a year, it added.
Located around 20km from the Kent and Essex coasts in England, London Array will cover an area of 100 square km in phase one on the Thames Estuary, and will be connected by undersea cables to a new onshore substation currently being built at Cleve Hill on the North Kent coast.
Frank Wouters, director of Masdar Power, said: “The progress of work at London Array marks our commitment to expediting the deployment of utility-scale renewable energy production around the world.
“The offshore wind farm additionally reflects the community’s swift adoption of renewable and clean energy technologies.”
The London Array is set to contribute to the expanding wind energy sector of the UK, which installed 653MW in fresh capacity to account for more than half of the global offshore wind energy market in 2010. Once completed, it will supply enough power for approximately 750,000 homes in Greater London.
Offshore represents 26 percent of the UK’s total wind capacity of which 59 percent was added in 2010, according to estimates by the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA).
The global installed wind energy capacity is expected to jump from 196,630MW in 2010 to 600GW by 2015 and further to 1,500GW by 2020, the World Wind Energy 2010 report predicted.
The total global installed offshore wind capacity reached 3,117.6MW, of which 1161.7MW was added in 2010, representing a growth rate of 59 percent.
In terms of new installations, offshore capacity accounted for 3.1 percent during the year, the WWEA report said.

Masdar sees London Array phase 1 finished in 2012
By Andy SambidgeSaturday, 9 July 2011

London Array – Masdar Power, a unit of the UAE’s clean energy firm Masdar said on Saturday that the first phase of the world’s largest offshore wind farm was due for completion by the end of 2012. The company, which is a partner in the London Array project, along with DONG Energy and E.ON, said work on the 630MW first phase in the Thames Estuary was progressing well.
Twenty-two of the planned 177 monopile foundations (175 wind turbines and two offshore substations) have been installed to date, the company said in a statement. The project will result in CO2 savings of 925,000 tonnes a year, it added. Located around 20km from the Kent and Essex coasts in England, London Array will cover an area of 100 square km in phase one on the Thames Estuary, and will be connected by undersea cables to a new onshore substation currently being built at Cleve Hill on the North Kent coast.Frank Wouters, director of Masdar Power, said: “The progress of work at London Array marks our commitment to expediting the deployment of utility-scale renewable energy production around the world.
“The offshore wind farm additionally reflects the community’s swift adoption of renewable and clean energy technologies.”
The London Array is set to contribute to the expanding wind energy sector of the UK, which installed 653MW in fresh capacity to account for more than half of the global offshore wind energy market in 2010. Once completed, it will supply enough power for approximately 750,000 homes in Greater London.
Offshore represents 26 percent of the UK’s total wind capacity of which 59 percent was added in 2010, according to estimates by the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA).
The global installed wind energy capacity is expected to jump from 196,630MW in 2010 to 600GW by 2015 and further to 1,500GW by 2020, the World Wind Energy 2010 report predicted.
The total global installed offshore wind capacity reached 3,117.6MW, of which 1161.7MW was added in 2010, representing a growth rate of 59 percent.In terms of new installations, offshore capacity accounted for 3.1 percent during the year, the WWEA report said.…


Middle East buyers are now behind 20 percent of all prime central London real estate deals following a rapid rise in interest over the past 12 months, IP Global has said: The property investment company said the capital city of England was “one of the most attractive in the world” in terms of Middle Eastern investment.

The firm said in a new report that overseas property investors now accounted for 48 percent of all prime central London property purchases.

It added that Middle Eastern buyers accounted for 20 percent of overall purchases, saying the figure had “risen rapidly over the past 12 months”.

Real estate consultants Knight Frank said last month that prices have risen 34 percent since their recent post-credit crunch low in March 2009 and prices were now at a record high, two percent higher than their previous peak in March 2008.

IP Global added that 60 percent of all UAE investment has been in London, with the remaining 40 percent in Asia Pacific.

“This signals a positive outlook for London’s property market, as it accounts for nearly 100 percent growth on IP Global’s 2010 figures.

“Demand for London property and especially its ‘trophy’ assets of Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Mayfair and Chelsea have traditionally been a key requirement for investors from the GCC, and IP Global predicts that Central London will continue to lead the pack in terms of growth throughout 2011,” IP Global said in a statement.

Tim Murphy, CEO of IP Global, said: “London has emerged as one of the top property investment hotspots in the world, especially for Middle East investors.

“While London has always been a prime property market, factors such as the recent unrest in some parts of the Middle East and the rising inflation in Asia have added to London’s appeal as a preferred investment destination for potential property buyers. London has seen a strong start to the year and we expect this to carry on through 2011.”

To date, IP Global said it has invested over $900m in 19 markets across the globe on behalf of its clients.

Last month, Knight Frank said prices of prime London property rose 0.9 percent in June, contributing to annual growth of 8.3 percent.

It revised its forecast for prime central London price growth from three percent to nine percent this year.


Posted on on July 6th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

Clean Energy Solutions

this from: UN-Energy   – .

On  Accelerating the transition to clean energy technologies Issue 2 of UN Energy Newsletter tells about the
Clean Energy Ministerial that was initiated At the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference of parties in Copenhagen in December 2009.

There Secretary Chu announced that he would host the first Clean Energy Ministerial to bring together ministers with responsibility for clean energy technologies from the world’s major economies and from a select number of smaller countries that are leading in various areas of clean energy.
By working together, these governments can accomplish more than by working alone, he said.

We are intrigued by the list of participating countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

That is the EU countries, Australia, Canada, Norway, the US, Korea, and Japan – that is the old OECD countries – plus the UAE and the new big seven  growing economies – Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico,  Russia, South Africa.

These States account for more than 80 percent of global energy consumption and pollution, and as well a  similar percentage of the market for clean energy technologies. Our argument is that if anything happened in Copenhagen in December 2009, it is that the concept of trying to chase an agreement of 192 government has been replaced by a practical approach of communicating with the 80% that includes the major energy users – historic as well as future polluters. It shall be hoped that a cooperation in their own self interest, between the industries and governments of these countries, can move the issues from their present dead point. After all – much has been achieved already in individual cases – the only problem being that when the 192 come together – rhetoric gets the day and agreements are very sparse.

The participation of the UAE – a federation that two of its members are already involved in financing development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies – though still  oil exporting in good standing with OPEC – makes sure that oil countries, not just Norway, are also participating in these efforts. Also, talking about oil production as a major part of their economies – this clearly extends to the post OECD countries – Brazil, Mexico and Russia.

The material states: The Clean Energy Ministerial is a high-level global forum to promote policies and programs that advance clean energy technology, to share lessons learned and best practices, and to encourage the transition to a global clean energy economy. Initiatives are based on areas of common interest among participating governments and other stakeholders.

Also: The world is on the cusp of a clean energy revolution. Some new technologies can help provide clean energy by harnessing the power of the sun, wind and other renewable resources. Other technologies can enable more efficient use of energy in buildings, industry and vehicles. These technologies, when coupled with supportive policies, can significantly reduce carbon pollution from traditional fossil fuels, improve local air quality, create jobs, enhance energy security and provide improved access to energy around the world. Yet barriers to the adoption of clean energy technologies abound, and the cost of some technologies remains high. By working together, governments and other stakeholders can overcome barriers and advance the market adoption of clean energy technologies.

Seemingly – at least US based initiatives are already in place.

These CEM initiatives are focused on three global climate and energy policy goals:

(1) Improve energy efficiency worldwide through the Global Energy Efficiency Challenge,

(2) Enhance clean energy supply,

and (3) Expand clean energy access.


Posted on on June 14th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

David Miller, former Toronto mayor and leader of the group of the world’s largest cities fighting climate change, has been named Future of Cities Global Fellow by Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly).

June 14th, 2011

“We are delighted that David Miller is bringing his international expertise and leadership in city-building to NYU-Poly,” NYU-Poly President Jerry M. Hultin said in announcing the appointment. “His insight will accelerate our historical mission of employing New York City as our urban laboratory in which we advance education, discovery and innovations that benefit the urban centers that are home to more than half the world’s population.”

“In this new role, Mayor Miller will assist NYU-Poly and NYU in developing programs that connect technology and society to solve pressing urban challenges,” said NYU-Poly Provost Dianne Rekow. “NYU-Poly identified urban technology as one of our three highest academic priorities, befitting our mission as a comprehensive school of engineering located in one of the world’s great urban centers. Mayor Miller’s unique insight will guide us as we explore the interplay between intelligent city infrastructure and economic, environmental and social sustainability.”

The appointment will include lecturing, course design and strategic roles for the former chair of the influential C-40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (2008-2010). As Toronto mayor from 2003 to 2010, Miller became recognized for innovations that furthered the city’s environmental sustainability, economic development and social integration. Under his leadership, Toronto received numerous honors such as the low carbon leadership award from The Climate Group. It is acknowledged as one of the worlds’ leading business destinations and as a city that respects social justice.

“I am very pleased to join NYU-Poly,” Miller said. “Its long history as a respected institution for engineering innovation, its approach to education and its global collaborations with NYU create a unique opportunity to help its students – and the world – find solutions to pressing urban issues that can improve livability, prosperity and opportunity for all.”

Miller is currently counsel, international business and sustainability, to the Toronto law firm Aird & Berlis LLP, and is president of Urban Green Jobs, Inc., a social enterprise that supports solutions to our environmental challenges that create jobs and economic opportunity.

About Polytechnic Institute of New York University

Polytechnic Institute of New York University (formerly Polytechnic University), an affiliate of New York University, is a comprehensive school of engineering, applied sciences, technology and research, and is rooted in a 157-year tradition of invention, innovation and entrepreneurship: i2e. The institution, founded in 1854, is the nation’s second-oldest private engineering school. In addition to its main campus in New York City at MetroTech Center in downtown Brooklyn, it also offers programs at sites throughout the region and around the globe.

Globally, NYU-Poly has programs in Israel, China and is an integral part of NYU’s campus in Abu Dhabi.


Posted on on March 23rd, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

Saturday, March 26, 2011
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM NYUAD Downtown Campus

The Cinema Chats Film Series is held in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, and is curated by:
Peter Scarlet, Executive Director Abu Dhabi Film Festival

Ella Shohat, Professor of Art and Public Policy and Middle Eastern Studies, NYU Abu Dhabi

Robert Stam, University Professor of Cinema Studies, NYU

Mo Ogrodnik, Associate Dean of Arts, NYU Abu Dhabi

In the 2009 documentary Carioca, attribute to the iconic figure Tahia Carioca, Egyptian director Nabiha Lotfy unveils the tragedy and romance of the life of a dancer who captivated a generation of Egyptians as a rebel, a revolutionary and a lover. In conjunction with Carioca, Tahani Rached’s film Neighbors (Geran) questions another side of Cairo’s history through an exploration of Garden City, a now-isolated neighborhood, previously the site of wealthy foreign elite villas. Rached uses interviews with neighborhood residents and the proximity of the U.S. and British embassies to present a fresh analysis of Egyptian history.


Posted on on March 21st, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

As per

Hollywood legend James Cameron. (Getty Images for Producers Guild)

Hollywood legend James Cameron. (Getty Images for Producers Guild)

Acclaimed Hollywood film director and producer James Cameron has praised the efforts of Abu Dhabi clean energy company Masdar following a tour of Masdar City.

The man behind billion dollar blockbuster Avatar – who is a well known environmental campaigner – applauded UAE leaders for embarking on the green project despite having significant oil producing capacity.

Cameron, who was given a comprehensive overview of Masdar’s approach to tackling the complex energy challenges the world faces, said: “Through Masdar, the leadership of the UAE has taken a visionary path towards the future. In the heart of a major oil producing nation, Masdar is a shining ideal of what a long term, sustainable future for energy can be.

“This is a test bed – and this is where the technology is going to come from that will allow us to have a renewable energy future,” he added.

Cameron`s visit also included a tour of Masdar Institute, the Middle East’s first graduate research institution dedicated to clean energy research and education.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Masdar CEO, said: “The remarkable passion that James Cameron has for the environment and a healthy, thriving future is clearly seen in his works.”

In December, Cameron revealed that he plans to devote more of his time, energy and money into developing renewable energy solutions.

“Energy crisis is a big issue of concern. Climate change due to global warming is also one area which is serious. There is a need to find out alternative sources of energy,” Cameron told reporters on the sidelines of an event in India.

He said not much was happening in the direction of tackling the grave issues.

“Renewable energy is the answer to these issues and I will like to invest my time, energy, resources and money in exploring alternate energy solutions to address the cause,” Cameron said.


Posted on on January 17th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (

Masdar City ‘energy positive’; produces more power than needs.


  • Sunday, 16 January 2011.

ABU DHABI DEVELOPMENT: Masdar City is a low-carbon development

ABU DHABI DEVELOPMENT: Masdar City is a low-carbon development

Masdar City, the low-carbon development backed by the Abu Dhabi government, is producing more power than it uses, its head of energy management said.

“Right now, Masdar City is energy positive,” Afshin Afshari said during a site visit on Sunday. “The power it sends to the grid exceeds the amount used at Masdar Institute and the site offices.”

Masdar City produces 10 megawatts from a photovoltaic solar plant and 1 megawatt from solar panels on the roof of the Masdar Institute, Afshari said. The institute is a renewable energy research university.

Masdar City is a business and residential complex designed to give off minimal carbon emissions. Abu Dhabi, holder of almost all the oil reserves in the United Arab Emirates, is eager to become a hub for renewable energy.


Posted on on October 29th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (

Masdar solar plant to lose power as dust blocks sun.

Bloomberg, Wednesday, 27 October 2010 11:53 PM

Abu Dhabi suffered number of setbacks this year to its aim of becoming a hub for renewable energy.

the latest – Abu Dhabi’s Shams solar power plant, owned by state owned renewable energy company Masdar, Abengoa SA and Total SA, will receive less energy than planned because of dust particles in the area are blocking sunlight, a Masdar official said.
Shams 1, the world’s largest concentrated solar thermal plant, will receive less power from the sun than was expected when its financial forecasts were drawn up because of dust particles that were not picked up by a satellite assessment of solar radiation at the site, Masdar power director Frank Wouters said.
“Dust in the atmosphere absorbed a substantial part of the direct irradiation,” Wouters said at a conference in Barcelona. “There’s a huge difference between PowerPoint and real life.”
Abu Dhabi, holder of almost all the oil reserves in the UAE, has suffered a number of setbacks this year to its aim of becoming a hub for renewable energy.

Earlier this month, Masdar said it will delay the first phase of its $22 billion low carbon city after undertaking a review during the financial crisis.
This week the International Renewable Energy Agency, for which Abu Dhabi lobbied to host the headquarters, appointed Adnan Amin as interim director general after Helene Pelosse quit.

The Shams 1 project will cost $600 million and generate about 100 megawatts of power from 2012 in Madinat Zayed, 120 kilometers (75 miles) southwest of Abu Dhabi.
Total and Abengoa will each own 20 percent of the plant, the largest such project in the world, with 768 parabolic mirrors extending over a 2.5- square-kilometer area, Masdar said June 9.
The plant will need more mirrors to achieve its target capacity, although the extra cost is within the margin of error. The total cost will remain about the same, Wouter said.

“Does it still make sense? Yes it does,” Wouter said. Masdar is “squeezing the hell out of” its construction partners to keep the project on budget, he said.

Masdar already has a 10-megawatt photovoltaic plant in Abu Dhabi.

PV plants use solar panels, which convert sunlight directly to electricity. Concentrated solar reflects sunlight, usually with mirrors, to heat liquids that generate power with steam turbines.


the location:…

“Shams (Arabic for sun) is the first major step for Abu Dhabi to achieve its seven percent target” for renewable energy use by 2020, project manager Mohammed al-Zaabi said. “It will be followed by the next projects, Shams Two and Three.”

Power demand in Abu Dhabi peaks during the day due to air conditioner use, Zaabi said, making ideal, as sunlight is strongest at the same time.

“This is the first time in the where we can provide significant (power) capacity that does not rely on fossil fuel,” said Nicholas Carter, head of the Abu Dhabi Regulation and Supervision Bureau, which regulates the water and electricity sectors. The plant “will offset 170 thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.”

Concentrated solar power (CSP) plants use mirrors to heat liquid — a type of oil, in the case of Shams 1 — to then heat water to run a steam generator and produce electricity, Zaabi said.

Abengoa Solar CEO Santiago Seage said that, compared to other types of solar power plants, “the main advantage of CSP is the fact that it is less intermittent.”

“You have a solar field … but you also have a boiler where you use natural gas to create the steam if the solar resource is not enough,” he said.

Abengoa Solar has already constructed four CSP plants in Spain, and is building others in Spain, north Africa and the United States, Seage said.


Posted on on June 27th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz ( suggests that modern advanced thinking about energy might someday find its way to the oil countries – that is when they run out of gas, but we wonder why they needed the regional grid anyway and why they do not think of the sun and the wind in their energy planning.


Gulf power grid to meet demand for extra 55,000MW

by Neeraj Gangal

Saturday, 26 June 2010.

POWER DEMAND: The first phase of the grid, which was launched  during the second half of 2009, has already been completed. (Getty  Images)

POWER DEMAND: The first phase of the grid, which was launched during the second half of 2009, has already been completed. (Getty Images)

The regional electricity network currently servicing the four GCC countries of Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, will play a key role in meeting demand for an additional 55,000 MW of power through 2015, according to a report on Friday.

The first phase of the grid, which was launched during the second half of 2009, has already been completed, Oman Daily Observer said.

The UAE could be added to the network within 2010, it added.

“The transnational system might still not be enough to keep pace with the Gulf’s rapidly growing power consumption. Although ongoing regional capacity is at around 75,000 MW, a projected 9.5 percent growth in annual demand will require more electricity and energy projects,” the Oman Daily Observer report noted.

GCC Power 2010, the 8th Regional Conference for National Committees of CIGRE (the International Council on Large Electric Systems) in the Arab Countries to be held from October 18 to 20, 2010 in Doha, Qatar, will reveal business and partnership opportunities driven by the region’s huge power demand, it said.

George Ayache, General Manager, IFP Qatar, organiser of GCC Power 2010 said, “GCC Power 2010 is the only event capable of providing a comprehensive view of the latest developments in electricity and energy affecting the Gulf region.”

The event will combine panel and technical sessions with international exhibitions to offer a full range of information and options to industry and government decision makers.

The event will also share valuable insights on Qatar’s thriving energy business, which has emerged as one of the country’s primary growth sectors, George Ayache said.

The GCC Power 2010 Conference will discuss development, technologies and techniques in system operation and control, system planning, development and technical studies, substations, power transformers and reactors, switchgear and hv equipment, transmission lines and cables, hvdc and power electronics, and emerging technologies, according to the Oman Daily Observer.

Last year’s edition gathered around 500 international delegates to discuss more than 50 papers on electricity and energy. GCC Power 2010 is owned by CIGRE, the GCC regional committee for large electricity systems, it added.



Disclaimer: The views expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by or its employees.

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Waste to Energy
Posted by scorp2x, Abu Dhabi, UAE on Sunday 27 June 2010 at 17:29 UAE time

There are other options for creating power as well. My own company are trying to establish an excellent ‘waste to energy’ facility in the UAE and other Gulf States. Such a facility can produce power by converting all kinds of waste into usable energy and with almost zero emissions and no harmful waste product at all. In fact, any waste by product is all usable in either the steel industry of the building industry. This is a truly green project and we hope to win support for this very soon.

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Energy is saved is equal to energy produced.
Posted by Dastagir, Trichur, India on Saturday 26 June 2010 at 19:22 UAE time

One important thing that I noticed during my 3 months in stay in Dubai is the misuse of electricity. Almost all the buildings there are power hungry, especially the malls,exhibition halls,flats etc… The excessive height, over usage of glass,lack of ceiling fans in some flats,some types of light fittings, etc… are some reasons for the huge conception of electricity. It is already been to late to enter the green electricity concept like solar power at least to some areas like public parks,traffic lights,etc.. Nuclear power is also a option if it is built and operated safely. Let us not forget nuclear accidents like Chernobyl and the after effects of a accident.


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